Skip to main content

Facebook is now threatening iOS 14.5 users who block tracking — here’s how

Instagram
(Image credit: aap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Facebook has started showing a message to Apple iPhone and iPad users that puts pressure on them to accept Facebook’s tracking request. Under Apple’s new rules, all apps must actively seek the permission of the user in order to track their activity across 

A screenshot, posted by Ashkan Soltani on Twitter, shows two screens which Toms Guide hasn’t been able to replicate in our use of Instagram on iOS 14.5. In the grabs a Facebook or Instagram message is shown in it the company mentions that ads keep the apps “free of charge”. It’s a subtle, but vaguely passive aggressive suggestion that users might have to pay for Facebook’s products if they don’t submit to being tracked. 

See more

Certainly Facebook is very reliant on being able to leverage its enormous tranche of data about users.

Facebook has, until their recent ban on all major browsers, made extensive use of the ability to track users across all sites. Because so many services embed Facebook share/like buttons on its pages, the company has access to see how you use the web and to build up a picture of your internet use. You are able to request a copy of this data if you’re interested, and it’s illuminating. 

Facebook has been vocal against the moves that Apple has made recently to hand back control of privacy to users. Mark Zuckerberg said in an earnings call back in January, "Apple may say that they're doing this to help people, but the moves clearly track their competitive interests." It’s important to point out that even Apple apps are not exempt from this rule, with the company obeying the same rules as everyone else when it comes to tracking you on other services. 

Not all users will see this message, but if you do, it’s important to remember that life existed before Instagram, and it will exist long after Facebook’s reign has ended. Blocking third-party tracking gives you back a little control, and you should take it. 

A tech journalist with many years of experience, Ian got his start writing about the battle between HD DVD and Blu-ray. Technology might have moved on, but there's still plenty of skirmishes to report on.